Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873) was Professor of Geology at Cambridge from 1818, and in 1819 helped to found the Cambridge Philosophical Society. The 'Discourse' at the heart of this book first appeared in 1833. In it he urged students to develop their characters in this 'place of sound learning and Christian education'. He describes the subjects studied in the university - the 'laws of nature', ancient literature and language, and ethics and metaphysics - and their purpose in the service of God. By the time this fifth edition was published in 1850, however, the book had (as Charles Darwin put it in a letter to the author) 'wonderfully grown', with a Preface of 422 pages and an appendix, ranging very widely over the scientific and philosophical debates of the day, as well as ethics and religion. It provides a fascinating overview of a period of scientific revolution for historians of science and education.
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- Edition: 5th Edition
- Date Published: July 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781108001991
- length: 776 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 39 mm
- weight: 1.02kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Fifth Edition
Part I. Preliminary Dissertation:
1. Introductory remarks on the doctrine of final causes
2. Theory of spontaneous generation, transmutation of species, &c.
3. Fœtal transformations, and their bearing on the theory of development
4. Organic phenomena of geology, and general remarks on their bearing on the theory of development
5. Animal and vegetable remains of the primary or Palæozoic division
6. Fossils of the secondary division, &c.
7. Organic remains of the tertiary division, &c.
8. Materialism. Mechanical and moral laws. Laws of chance. Tendencies of modern science. Fantastical views of nature. Evils of rash generalisation. Education, &c.
9. Conditions of the mind that have led men to deny a personal creator. Atheism and pantheism. Illustrations of the doctrine of final causes. Galvanic and phrenological hypotheses. Mechanical inventions, &c.
10. On the ideal theory of Locke - imperfections of his analysis. Schools of the idealist and the Sensualists. Mischief of setting up idealism as the interpreter of material nature, illustrated by the works of Oken, &c.
11. Digression on some discoveries of Oken followed out by Owen. Archetype of nature. General scale of nature. Never existed at one time in the history of the earth. The reconstruction of the scale subversive of the theory of development, &c.
12. Reconsideration of the argument for final causes. Miracles. Belief in a first cause, and moral conclusions from it. Induction of the fountain of all material truth, &c.
1. Pantheistic views of revelation and its evidences, and comments on the Newtonian philosophy. Evidences of Christianity, historical and prophetical. Moral purity of the gospel. Its propagation and effects on the progress of man, &c.
2. Recent changes in the University course. Modern science of Cambridge - Philosophical society. Modern external improvements. Moral and social character of the students, &c. External improvements in Cambridge
3. Modern religious movements. Principles of the Church of England contrasted with those of the Church of Rome. Tracts for the times. Terms of communion. Immorality of the tracts. Acts of apostasy. Causes of error in our estimate of religious and moral questions. True Catholicity. Conclusion
Part III. Discourse: Appendix to the Discourse
Supplement to the Appendix.
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